Pardons and Paroles Suspends Troy Davis Clemency Case - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

08/06/07

Pardons and Paroles Suspends Troy Davis Clemency Case

Clemency hearings in the execution of Troy Anthony Davis have been put on hold. This news comes on the heels of Friday's decision by the Georgia State Supreme Court to hear an appeal by Davis's lawyers for a new trial.

For Davis's family, this means some borrowed time to plead his case of innocence.

For the family of Mark MacPhail, it's one more road block to what they believe is justice.

However, legal experts call this case highly unusual and predicting what will happen next is anyone's guess.

Last month, just 24 hours before he was set to be executed, Troy Davis was granted a 90 stay of execution by the State Pardon and Parole board. They wanted more time to review paperwork and testimony of witnesses who had recanted their stories.

Following the clemency hearings, Davis's attorneys filed an appeal for a new trial with the State Supreme Court, which on Friday, agreed to hear the appeal.

Now, with another clemency hearing scheduled for this Thursday, the hearing was cancelled and the clemency put on hold.

Local attorney Michael Schiavone has been following the case since the day Mark MacPhail was murdered outside a downtown Burger King and Troy Davis was arrested for the crime and sentenced to death.

"I've never seen as much emphasis on a case in the last hour that has occurred in this particular case," Schiavone said. "Things occurred within a relatively short time from the date his execution was scheduled. Within days, all of a sudden, the complexity of this case changed enormously."

Schiavone thinks this kind of scrutiny and checks and balances is good for the system, making sure if you are going to have the death penalty, the right person is executed. He's also surprised by the amount of attention the Troy Davis case has received nationally, in such a short time.

Even the Pope wrote a letter on behalf of Troy Davis.

Schiavone says it could be months before the appeal is heard and another few months before a decision. If the Supreme Court agrees to a new trial, the Board of Pardon and Paroles is out of the picture.

If the appeal for a new trial is denied, the clemency hearings, which were suspended, will pick up where the left off and it will once again be up to the Pardon and Parole Board whether Davis lives or dies.

For our coverage of the case from the wtoc.com archives, click here.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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